Monday, March 31, 2014

LEGO Mania Magazine: A Look Back to Twenty Years Ago! (Part VII)

Our journey through the inaugural issue of the LEGO Mania Magazine from Winter 1994 is almost over!  Today, we flip over to pages 12 and 13 where we find fan submitted directions for a logging truck!



It's funny that the featured model is a logging truck since I still have LEGO's official logging truck from their City line to build and review for the blog - something that probably won't happen until I'm done teaching for the semester.

As for the model, notice the picture of the model (presumably submitted by the fan) doesn't actually match the instructions - the arm piece should be placed behind the cab of the truck rather than on top of the truck.  Whoops!

Did you happen to notice that the "flip 'n build" model is now done...and that the whole exercise was to build a platypus (of all things)?!  I guess it's a nice use of the brick separator in a model...though I'd be shocked if very many people actually tried to build the platypus - it's pretty lame compared to most of the other models in the magazine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

LEGO Mania Magazine: A Look Back to Twenty Years Ago! (Part VI)

I've been having a good time reliving my childhood by going through page-by-page the inaugural issue of the LEGO Mania Magazine (Winter 1994).  In the last post for the magazine, I showed off some user creations that LEGO decided to feature in their magazine.  While that concept isn't terribly interesting now with the proliferation of the internet (and many, many LEGO-centric blogs such as this one), it was a neat concept back in the middle of the 1990s!

Moving on to pages 10 and 11, we see that LEGO has included a comic of sorts in their magazine (as do many magazines aimed squarely at kids).  LEGO wasn't terribly creative in their name of the comic though calling it simply "The Adventures of the LEGO Maniac."


You might need to click on the images to make them a bit easier to read...
All things considered, the comic isn't the worst I've ever seen...and I do like that it fits in with the theme of the issue (the Islanders got the starring role of the first issue of LEGO Mania Magazine).

You might have noticed the top of the page 11 featured the next step of the "flip n' build" the has been prevalent throughout the issue.  Have you figured out what LEGO is teaching you to build yet?  If it helps, there is only one more step to go!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

LEGO 6897: Rebel Hunter - REVIEW

It's been awhile since I've reviewed a set on this blog but that doesn't mean I haven't been acquiring and building sets!  Today's set is LEGO 6897:  Rebel Hunter and it is the fourth Space Police set that I've built and reviewed for the blog.  The set was released in 1992 and is part of the Space Police II line (as were the other three Space Police sets that I've reviewed to date).

This particular set came from an eBay seller - happily the instructions were included (and in great shape) but no box came with the set.  Instead, I received a bunch of carefully packaged sandwhich bags full of LEGO pieces!

Upon opening the various plastic bags, I was happy to see that all the pieces were included (always a bit of a worry when ordering used sets online).

The set itself contains 140 pieces and two minifigures (one Space Police and one Blacktron figure).  At the time, the Blacktron force was considered the "bad guys" while the Space Police were the "good guys."  As such, the included Blacktron figure is meant to be a prisoner on the Rebel Hunter.

Unlike many models, the Rebel Hunter's prison cell is actually a separate compartment which just fits one minifigure.  That prison cell can be scooped up by the Rebel Hunter by flexing it's frame - it's a rather unique set-up that was used in a similar fashion on only one other Space Police set (to the best of my knowledge).

In the above photograph, notice the two sides where the red arrows are located.  Each side is made up of three connected hinges which allows the spaceship to expand or contract - and when it's fully expanded the prison cell sits firmly in the ship's midsection (see below).

When the prison cell is not being carried by the Rebel Hunter, you can "collapse" the ship to make a shorter, leaner (and presumably faster) ship.  The three Technic axles above the prison cell are meant to help stabilize the expanding and contracting of the ship (and they work well I must say).  In closed form, the ship doesn't look quite as interesting, but it does look like it'd be fast!

Finally, it should be noted that the poor Blacktron guy doesn't get any spaceship of his own.  In fact, he has no possible way to elude the police as he's given no mode of transportation (other than his legs).  The poor rebel has no chance against the Rebel Hunter!

I have to admit that I really enjoyed building this set.  The build was unique to me - and while I don't usually build larger space craft, this one was fun to make.

The Bottom Line (out of 10):
Fun:  7
Play Value:  8
Kid Value:  8
Adult Value:  4
Overall:  7

The biggest improvement to the set (for the play value score at least) would have been to include some sort of small space ship for the Blacktron figure.  As it stands now, he has no chance of escaping which severely undermines the playability of the set.    However, the set is still fun enough (and the moving midsection of the ship helps) to keep kids (and adults) interested in the set.  Furthermore, it's always fun to get a prison - and having the cell detachable could lead to plenty of fun play scenerios (whether that's building a custom prison for the various Space Police cell containers or devising some Blacktron scheme to somehow pry loose the prison cell from the space ship).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

LEGO Mania Magazine: A Look Back to Twenty Years Ago! (Part V)

Welcome back to another post where we take a look at the original LEGO Mania Magazine!  We've worked through the first few pages (you can go here to see the last post) and now we up to the user submitted photos.

I have to be honest, I'm not sure how LEGO had user submitted photos for a magazine that wasn't published until this very edition.  In hindsight, that seems a bit fishy (but I'm sure I didn't think anything of it at the time).  I do know I thought it'd be kind of cool to be featured in the magazine (and at one point I had even taken a couple of photos with the idea of submitting them) but to the best of my memory, I never did.

The Manic Madness (as LEGO called it) was a two page spread, almost like a poster which featured models presumably made by fans.


As you can see, LEGO did do a nice job of featuring creations from a variety of age levels (and sets/themes).  When I first received the magazine, I do recall thinking that the "Black Knight Fortress" by Adam was pretty cool.  Unfortunately, looking at the models now I realize that that particular model was basically the least creative out of all the models on the page (not to mention that the catapult and the dragon wagon were both actual LEGO models that I would later own myself)!

No, now I think my favorites are the Moon Outpost #5 (mostly because of the greenhouse) and the Bowling Alley.  I highly question the USS LEGO model at the bottom of the page - there's no way that photo was taken by an 8 year old...look at the staging, the shadows, etc.  Way too professional for any kid to have done.  I also am glad that LEGO got rid of the Technic figures (as seen in the Racer model) - those things are hideous abominations.

Next time we return to the magazine we will take a look at the comic called The Adventures of the LEGO Maniac.  Sure, it's a corny name but it certainly works to sell whatever sets they are trying to peddle for any issue of the magazine (rather than having to have some sort of cohesive plot to tie together each episode)!